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“Battle Lines Drawn in Common Core Standards: Whole Language vs. Phonics”

Teacher/ columnist and education activist Donna Garner

Despite all of the information and warnings to the contrary, the State Board of Education, in it’s infinite wisdom, voted this week to sell our children down the river in Wyoming by accepting the “Federal Core Curriculum” and all the government strings and attachments that go with it, including the ever dangerous diversity agenda. Isn’t it time we send the message to our state leaders, once and for all, we are not willing to give up local control over what our children are learning in public schools?.

~~Introductory comments by Donna Garner~~
4.29.12
[Cutting to the chase: The discredited whole language teaching method emphasizes “prereading strategies” because students who have not been taught phonemic awareness/decoding skills (phonics) cannot sound out words well enough to free up their brains to comprehend the text.
To get around those inherent problems with whole language, the whole language proponents have come up with a strategy called “prereading” which often is so detailed and time consuming that the students know all about the story without ever having to sound out the words and actually read them.
Now a big argument has erupted over the Common Core Standards between those who know it is crucial for students to achieve mastery in sounding out words to the automaticity level vs. those whole language proponents who rely upon their prereading strategies (i.e., metacognitive strategies) that actually eliminate the need for students to be able to read the text.
The empirical reading research done by NIH using MRI’s and cognitive reading instrumentation prove that good readers read almost every single word; therefore, good reading curriculum should require children to sound out individual phonemes, segment/blend them into words -- that lead to sentences, that lead to paragraphs, that lead to entire texts. This is the part-to-the-whole concept that follows the way the brain develops in humans.
The “reading wars” that are occurring over the Common Core Standards pit those who follow the cognitive brain research vs. those who practice whole language strategies, including time-consuming prereading methods that end up giving students a “crutch” so that they don’t feel as if they ever need to learn to sound out the words fluently, automatically, and correctly.
I believe that whole language instruction leads to derelict readers and is a form of “child abuse.”  – Donna Garner]
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Excerpts from this article:
In one kindergarten example, the teacher spends 20 minutes preparing children for a six-minute reading.
By the time they actually read the book, “there wasn’t a single shred of an idea in there that the kids didn’t already know,” he said. “What they were learning was that reading [the text] wasn’t really necessary.”
…”In too many classrooms, the actual text never enters the discussion,” he said. “It’s all about kids’ feelings about it, or their experiences related to it. The teacher spends 45 minutes wallowing in that space, but never gets into the information in the text.”
Published Online: April 24, 2012
Common Standards Ignite Debate Over Prereading
By Catherine Gewertz

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/04/25/29prereading_ep.h31.html

Vol. 31, Issue 29, Pages 1,22-23

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